Concert Reviews

Van Halen at the Pepsi Center, 5/24/12

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But while 1982 might have been good year for Roth and an ideal time to see one of the world's greatest rock bands, thirty years later it's a slightly different ballgame. Roth doesn't quite have the pipes he used to. As many have noted about previous shows, Roth can't quite hit the high notes like the old days and mumbled his way through lines here and there, only to be saved at times by vocal harmonies by Eddie Van Halen and his 21-year-old son, Wolfgang, who also did a noble job holding down bass lines.

The guys in Van Halen recently postponed 31 dates so they could "recharge their batteries." For their part, the Van Halen boys brought a hell of a rock show -- Eddie, Alex and Wolfgang were all in fine form for the most part. Roth seemed to be the weaker link. At times, he seemed to be trying to compensate with antics, the occasional karate kick, James Brown spin and he even did the splits -- which was pretty damn impressive, both that he's still able to pull off that sort of move and that it didn't tear the crotch out of his skin-tight pants. Just the same, dude managed to give a fairly decent performance, hamming it up, sporting a cheesy grin most of the show.

While five or six roadies sprayed, mopped and swept the center stage floor prior to the show, and even poured some sort of powder on the floor, Roth wasn't totally happy with it. The band had already turned out energetic takes on "Unchained" and "Runnin' With the Devil" to kick off the show, but during "Romeo Delight" Roth used his jacket and mike stand to wipe down the floor, which didn't quite do the trick.

As drummer Alex Van Halen kicked off the heavy tom intro to "Everybody Wants Some!!" Roth said, "You people deserve the very best here, and they fucked the floor up. Hold on one second. I'm going to make this perfectly right for ya here. You're gonna get a show like you never fucking saw. Are you with me so far here? Because I hear the drummer talking. Yeah, I can do their job. You bet. This is how I fucking started, and I'm never leaving. There we go. This is for the dipshit who wasted all of this good audience's fucking time. Yeah, baby."

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon